Celebrating the Day Of The Dead


courtesy to google

The end of October to the beginning of early November can be an interesting time to many families and even some individuals at Buena Park High School. At first glance, Halloween day can just be a grab for candy as some people would put it. Most students at Buena Park High School said their favorite thing about holidays like Halloween were, “the candy.”  

The Holidays are more than just candy, most of this was brought to light by students and other families. When they started to shift their discussion less on Halloween and more on a holiday that Latin Americans celebrate known as Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. Anahi Benitzes, a senior at Buena Park High School admitted, “In the first few years of my life I didn’t celebrate the holiday, due to my religion but now it’s my favorite holiday.”  

Josie Buco, a woman who was celebrating the holiday at the local Santa Ana cemetery with a group of other people expressed, “Even though I’m not hispanic I still see the importance and value of this holiday and love to celebrate it.” A local cemetery worker expressed, “I feel good celebrating the holiday.” Mostly everyone expressed and shared the importance to them and what this day means to them. To recognize the past and present values of the connections formed and bonded with loved ones, each of these groups of people shared what the day meant to them.  

  Anahi shared, “This day means a day to reconnect with the souls who’ve found peace. I always get a homey feeling when this day comes around.” Josie shared, “It mostly means remembering the good memories of our loved ones and honoring their memory like my mother. We’re honoring what made her so special.” Shane Garrison agreed, sharing, “I think this is one of the holidays I see as a little more important,” than compared to holidays like Halloween. He said with more of an emphasis on certain things to him what the day meant. “Honoring the death of passed loved ones and the memories that come with it, compared to getting tricks and treats.” He then added, “I find meaning in that day by the time it gives me to remember things that matter to me throughout the day, instead of just at random.”  

Carmela Benham shared, “I find it as a day of celebration. In Europe they do something similar where they go to the cemetery and bring all types of flowers among sweets.” The cemetery worker shared, “This day is very important since I get to remember my loved ones. My dad passed away and I try to remember the good moments I had with him, to remember those parts of him that are in my memories.”  

  Each shared their favorite traditions to do on the holiday. Anahi said, “I usually get spooky baskets for my friends. I love giving things.” Mrs. Buco shared her favorite tradition as well, “Since my mom’s favorite thing to do was spend time with her family, we do this return, we hang around where she was buried. Honor her by bringing her favorite treats. I even celebrate by watching her favorite movies.” 

The interviewees then shared which holiday they preferred, Halloween or Day of the Dead? Most students at Buena Park High School that were interviewed felt the same about Halloween and Day of the Dead. Anahi expressed agreeing with what Shane said, “I like Day of the Dead more, El dia de los Muertos is just beautiful. The Marigold flowers just give it life.” Josie agreed on the consensus of what most people felt, saying, “I overall feel the same towards Halloween and Day of the Dead, I love the memories I get from both holidays.”  

Anahi really does value and care about the holiday and likes it more than Halloween. Expressing how she would be attending the after school Day of the Dead celebration saying, “I will be there with a few other students from Latino Club.” Most of these individuals expressed how these days were a way to bring connection. All deeply explaining in different ways how those memories made them love and appreciate the holidays.  

Anahi shared, “The first Halloween I celebrated was with my friend and I carved my first pumpkin. I will never forget that.” Josie agreed, seconding that by expressing, “We find this day important to celebrate because it’s a day to remember the spirits.” Expressing that these memories are so important because it helps them value new ones.  

Josie even articulated, “My son who’s 6 had a grand time on Halloween trick or treating. Being lucky to have 2 families in the same neighborhood, so each family goes to the other side and eventually meet up. Josie then expressed her honest feelings on the importance of these family connections on this day by saying. “It’s a good day to remember they’re gone and rather than being sad, being happy and appreciating that we were able to have them. Keeping in our hearts all their favorite things.”  

The cemetery worker finished by saying, “It’s a lot of hard work working at a cemetery but I love it. I feel sad but also good when I see families paying tribute to their loved ones.” Agreeing with what Josie said Mrs. Beham said, “Acknowledge their passing on this earth and of course praying for the safe passes of their souls. Using the media of memory for those souls who found peace.” 

   Her sister Mayam Beham finished the discussion by saying, “The energy is still there, we still have that connection and bond. Just because we’re separated doesn’t mean that bond is really ever disconnected, especially when the veil is thin.” In the end everybody concluded that it wasn’t about the treats and food on the holidays or the life lessons and morals, that really brought meaning to the holidays; it was the memories shared by others separated or not. The reason is that those memories helped people connect and form bonds with one another.